The Bankruptcy of Philosophical Theology

lutherSome wag said to Luther, whilst discussing difficult theological concepts-

“It is asserted in the Creed, ‘he descended into hell.’”

Luther responded,

“This must be believed. We can’t understand it. That’s the way it is. There will be debate about how the Trinity is in the unity (when there’s no relation between the infinite and the finite), how nature can produce such a strange marvel as a God-man, etc. [While occupied thus with disputation] men will let the article concerning justification go.

If only we would study in the meantime how to believe and pray and become godly! We’re not content with that which we can understand and insist on disputing about something higher, which we can’t possibly understand and which our Lord God doesn’t want us to understand. That’s the way human nature is. It wishes to do what is forbidden; the rest it ignores and then starts asking, Why? Why? Why?

This is what happens when philosophy is introduced into theology. When the devil went to Eve with the question Why? the game was up. One should be on one’s guard against this. It’s better to fall on one’s knees and pray an Our Father. This will help more. “Dear Lord God, protect us from the devil, and also from ourselves!”

There’s something glorious in simplicity and honesty that eclipses pretensions to false knowledge.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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